By Abby Baird
I’m Abby B, a 10th grader who has had celiac disease for two years. I play multiple sports and go to a small private Christian school. I got diagnosed with celiac disease when I was in 8th grade and have had it for almost two years now. Since I go to such a small school I am the only one in the high school that has celiac disease and the only one who must eat strictly gluten-free, which is hard because many people and teachers don’t know or remember that I am gluten-free.
One thing that is especially hard is doing sports and having celiac disease. I play all three seasons of sports that my school has to offer and most of the time we are playing schools that are farther away. This means, often we will stop for dinner or will need food to get through the game. One of my favorite protein bars that I always keep in my sports bag is the dark chocolate peanut butter Nature Valley protein bar. Another tip besides always carrying your own a protein bar is when your season starts, talk to your coach.
Now unless your coach is a superhero they will probably forget that you have a dietary restriction and not always take that into account, so one thing that I have found helpful is to also tell your teammates. More often than not they will end up being the people who remember and when you have team dinners and such, they will make sure you can eat food and not forget about you.
Lastly, when you are playing sports it is super important to have a balanced diet. Many teams achieve this by a pasta party the night before a game. In those cases, I either bring my own pasta, or ask the host to supply gluten free pasta. But one thing that I struggled with was bringing my own food to events, or asking them to make special food, because I thought it was weird. But like I already said telling your teammates is often the best solution. Your teammates will understand that you have to bring your own food, and it’s not the end of the world, staying healthy is more important.
Celiac disease isn’t easy. It can be awkward to correct people, or to always ask be that one person that needs special food. Hopefully, through this blog it will become a little easier to manage!